Today is the birthday of Franklyn Farnum (William Smith, 1878-1961).
Originally from Boston Smith (later Farnum) is said to have started out as an actor in vaudeville from age 12. (He is not related to the star Dustin Farnum. It seems logical to assume he changed his name to create that impression. The original Farnum was already becoming well known on Broadway in 1900). Franklyn Farnum’s theatre career appeared to have been more of the barnstorming variety. His first Broadway play was the Avery Hopwood musical Somewhere Else (1913).
In 1916, he broke into film, starring in scores of silent movies, mostly melodramas and westerns, through 1927. His star status allowed him to appear in two Ziegfeld revues in 1921. At the height of his fame he was briefly married to Alma Rubens.
In the sound era he returned to pictures, and managed to get roles in B movies wetsrns through the mid 30s, but after this he was mainly a hard-working but uncredited extra. He worked right up to the time of his death in 1961.
To learn more about vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.